Books

Labyrinthine tales: We All Hear Stories in the Dark, by Robert Shearman, reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

When the estimable Andy Miller, the host of the Backlisted podcast, recommended a new collection of short stories on Twitter,…

Christiaan Huygens – hero of time and space

19 December 2020 9:00 am

This book, soaked like the Dutch Republic itself ‘in ink and paint’, is enchanting to the point of escapism. The…

The map as a work of art

19 December 2020 9:00 am

’Tis the season of complacency, when we sit in warmth and shiver vicariously with Mary and Joseph out in the…

The Enlightenment was a many-splendoured thing

19 December 2020 9:00 am

History used to be so much easier. There were the Wars of the Roses, then the Reformation, the Civil War,…

All change: The Arrest, by Jonathan Lethem, reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

This is an Exquisite Corpse of a novel — or if you prefer another name for that particular game, Heads,…

What is so special about heavy metal?

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Ever since my early youth I have loved, followed and respected a certain music genre that some people consider strange,…

Office boy

12 December 2020 9:00 am

For most of us, going to work means going to an office, to sit at a desk and perform bureaucratic…

The brutality of the Gulag was totally dehumanising

12 December 2020 9:00 am

‘It was a gray mass of people in rags, lying motionless with bloodless, pale faces, cropped hair, with a shifty,…

Unpleasant smells can actually enhance pleasure

12 December 2020 9:00 am

Harold McGee’s Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World’s Smells is an ambitious and enormous work. Indeed it’s so…

Joseph Ratzinger’s coat of many colours

12 December 2020 9:00 am

A common but flawed assumption about Joseph Ratzinger is that he is simply an ardent conservative. That’s the figure we…

James Kelman’s ‘Memoirs’ are a misnomer

12 December 2020 9:00 am

James Kelman doubtless remains best known for his 1994 Booker prize win for How Late It Was, How Late and…

The serious business of graphic novels

12 December 2020 9:00 am

One of the running jokes about ‘serious’ graphic novels is that so many seem to consist, one way and another,…

Transport to Australia was the saving of Carmen Callil’s family

12 December 2020 9:00 am

If 2020 has given us something to talk about other than Covid, it’s been history — and, more precisely, to…

War was never Sir Edward Grey’s métier

12 December 2020 9:00 am

This meaty but easily digested biography pivots around the events either side of that fateful evening of 4 August 1914…

The tug of war over the Rosetta Stone

12 December 2020 9:00 am

The decipherment of the Rosetta Stone led to bitter feuding – but there was mutual curiosity and collaboration too, says Elizabeth Frood

In the land of the blind

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Carter William Page, born in 1971, is the former United States Navy officer with personal, business, scholarly and government connections…

Who killed Jane Britton in 1969?

5 December 2020 9:00 am

The problem with telling stories about Harvard is that Harvard, if it teaches anything these days, teaches distrust of stories.…

No one ‘got’ the Sixties better than David Bailey

5 December 2020 9:00 am

What caught my eye towards the end of Look Again was this conversation between David Bailey and the shoe designer…

Bright and beautiful: the year’s best art books reviewed

5 December 2020 9:00 am

When he was a student, the celebrated American modernist master Robert Rauschenberg once told me that his ‘greatest teacher’ —…

The plight of the migrant: Crossed Lines, by Marie Darrieussecq, reviewed

5 December 2020 9:00 am

‘We should be living in a brave country and on a brave planet that bravely distributes its occupants,’ thinks Rose…

The British Empire is now the subject on which the sun never sets

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Wrestling with the history of the British Empire is the unfinished and unfinishable project of our history. Time’s Monster takes…

Roy Strong’s towering egotism is really rather engaging

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Stephen Bayley recalls his (mainly enjoyable) encounters with the flamboyant former museum director

Blame game

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Ah, millennials. Golden children of the Digital Age or dysfunctional, over-educated slackers? Bit of both, says Anne Helen Petersen, although…

Is there anything left worth joking about?

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Here are a couple of books that seek to tackle the difficult issue of comedy on the front line. One…

Barack Obama was decidedly a man of action as well as words

28 November 2020 9:00 am

Barack Obama was famous for his rhetoric, but his achievements show just what a steely political operator he was too, says Sam Leith